A general election has been called for May and the Conservative leader, David Cameron, is definitely opening the abortion debate.
Cameron himself calls for the lowering of the abortion time limit, giving one of the first interviews of his election campaign to the Catholic Herald. He says that he thinks "the way medical science and technology have developed in the past few decades does mean that an upper limit of 20 or 22 weeks would be sensible." (The current limit is 24 weeks.)
That Cameron should choose to deliberately make abortion an election issue - and so early in the campaign - is deeply alarming. Those vociferous anti-choice Conservatives who hijacked the last Human Fertility and Embryology Bill in order to launch an unsuccessful assault on abortion rights have pledged to reopen the debate if elected. It's a terrifying prospect that they should now enjoy their leaders' support so explicitly.
Cameron is entirely wrong that scientific advances require a revision of the upper limit. The government's own science and technology committee, reporting to parliament in 2007 at the time of the HEF Bill, along with the Royal College of Gynaecologists and the British Association of Perinatal Medicine all concurred that the survival of babies born under 24 weeks has not improved to such an extent that they see any value in redefining the limit.
It's also worth remembering that late abortion (at 20 or more weeks' gestation) is rare, accounting for just 1.6% of all procedures. And those women who opt for them are the most vulnerable of abortion recipients, often suffering from mental illness or domestic violence.
In short, it's time to dust off your pro-choice banners. Meanwhile, remind your socially liberal neighbour who is still flirting with voting Tory about the harsh reality of their compassionate Conservatism.
Thing is, they just had the abortion debate in Britain.
His comments brought an angry reaction from pro-choice groups, which accused him of resurrecting an issue that has already been comprehensively debated in parliament.
In 2008 MPs rejected a free vote to reduce the time limit to 22 weeks by 304 to 233 – with wider margins on alternatives proposals to reduce it to 20, 18 and 12 weeks.
Remember how Harriet Hardman, Deputy Labour Leader, whipped that vote?
Technically, once the MPs turned up, they could vote either way. In reality, sources say, they were greeted by Ms Harman’s group, who pressured them to vote against the move, proposed by Tory MP Nadine Dorries.
According to one account, women Labour MPs formed a ‘human corridor’ to channel their colleagues into the ‘No’ lobby. One Labour MP claimed to have heard one of Ms Harman’s team shout: ‘Vote against us and the sisterhood will never let you forget it.’
Ah, if only the fucking Liberals here had a Harriet Hardwoman.
But, hey, it's politics, where women's rights are ALWAYS negotiable.